суббота, 8 июля 2006 г.

July 08, 2006

Saturday, July 08, 2006
A lovely day.
Mowed the yard this morning, then Jawa Girl and I took Julie the Wiener Dawg to a plot of land owned by Second Chance Animal Center (where Jawa Girl works) and let her run free while we had a picnic lunch.

Anything going on today?


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Friday, July 07, 2006
Congratulations are in order
Kudos to Dr. Steve Green, Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCLA (and a personal friend) for being named Sociologist of the Year by the New England Sociological Association.

Dr. Green is one of the Good Guys.


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Friday Animal Blogging - Older Cats Need Love Too Edition
This is Romeo.

Romeo is a 12 year old black and white male cat who is at the Second Chance Animal Center because his owner passed away. He is a declawed cat so he needs to be an indoor only cat. He is a very calm, gentle and friendly cat.

Many people come in to the shelter and look at kittens. And while kittens are very very cute (believe me, Miles, Ella, and Mingus were!), sometimes older cats find themselves at the shelter too. Romeo may not have too many years left, and he deserves a nice home as much as any other cat.

UPDATE: Good news! Romeo has found a home!


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Thursday, July 06, 2006
On the road again...
Anyone who has known me for, say, 14 seconds or more knows I love me some maps. In the room in which I am typing this there are maps of North Adams, Berkshire County, Massachusetts (by towns), the United States, and the world. Jawa Girl routinely gives me maps from her subscription to National Geographic.

Probably because of my love of maps and my love of travel, I've become quite interested in roads and how they are maintained. I'm enough of an environmentalist that I'm not in favor of a huge increase in road building, but I do think we should maintain the roads we have.

With that said, what do you all think of this idea from Joseph M. Giglio?


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Good to see the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative still going strong.

A colleague offered some good suggestions with regard to muni WiFi. Now that things are finally settling down after the wedding, look for a meeting sometime in July or August. (Yes, I know - I wanted it earlier too, but life has a way of getting in the way.)


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Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Pogrom's Progress
Well, now.

Seems a Jewish family was run off from a school district in southern Delaware for...

being Jewish.

And what's worse - the slackjaw behind Stop the ACLU is "pleased we had an effect in this case."

The fundamentalists extremists who miscall themselves "Christian" are lining up with Jews and the state of Israel for one reason and one reason only - they believe there has to be a huge battle there before JEEEEzus! comes back. At that point, any Jew who doesn't convert to their narrow brand of extremist faux-Christianity will be killed. Why some Jewish folks *cough*Joe Lieberman*cough*Jeff Jacoby*cough* insist on hanging with these people (whose whole theology requires the Jews to give up their Jewishness or perish when all is said and done) is beyond me.

Mr. Kareiva of Stop the ACLU and the citizens and board members of the Indian River School District who supported this deserve all the scorn and maledictions civilized people can pour out.


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Music of the spheres
Ms. Hilda Banks Shapiro of Great Barrington lets us know that Stephanie Wilson of Pittsfield, currently on board the space shuttle Discovery, was an outstanding clarinetist as well.

It makes the heart proud to hear stories like that. If you asked Astronaut Wilson, I'd wager she'd tell you her musical studies had a positive impact on her studies to be an astronaut. This is the sort of thing that cannot be measured by a soulless standardized test designed to appeal to people who don't have clue one about how education should function.

Further interesting fact: Neil Armstrong played euphonium (my first brass instrument, for the record) in the Purdue University Band while in college. Mr. Armstrong lives in the Cincinnati area - I never got to meet him (his teaching days at UC were pretty much over by the time I started work on my MM, and we music majors didn't get out of the music building much), but I always wanted to get a euphonium into his hands and have him join a TubaChristmas concert - anonymously, of course.


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No Justice
Ken Lay has died without serving a day in prison. I hope that Herculean efforts were used to try to save him, because the thought of Ken Lay not serving one second of the time due him makes my blood boil.

Personally, I believe he should be buried in a prison cemetery.

And of course, this has to be a relief to Bush, because now he doesn't have to think about pardoning Kenny Boy.


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Tuesday, July 04, 2006
The Testament of Freedom
Like I did two years ago, I'd like to put up the text of Randall Thompson's The Testament of Freedom, a setting of the words of Thomas Jefferson. It seems right.

Movement 1 (from A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774):

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.

Movement 2 (from Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, 1775):

We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. -- Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.

Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great...We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.

Movement 3 (from Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, 1775):

We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.

In our native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it -- for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.

Movement 4 (from letter to John Adams, 1821 and A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774):

I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on steady advance...And even should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the science and liberties of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them...The flames kindled on the 4th of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.


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IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
(Note: Light blogging today. Do something uniquely American. Listen to a Sousa march or some jazz. Have a cookout. Celebrate our 230th birthday in grand style. It's still good to be an American, all of the present regime's best efforts to the contrary notwithstanding.)

Every year, on July 4, I reread the Declaration of Independence. You should too.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton


// posted by Wes @ 8:38 AM |||Comments (4) | Trackback (0)
Love Freedom?

Thank a Massachusetts liberal.

(props to my buddy and fraternity brother George Cullinan for the idea)


// posted by Wes @ 8:33 AM |||Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Monday, July 03, 2006
by definition unfinished
I haven't posted on James Carroll's columns in a while, but this one deserves special due. A taste:

America is by definition unfinished, because it forever falls short of itself. Not that this nation is more moral than others, but its half-formed foundational ideal required a moral purpose at the start -- and a moral purpose to the end. That is both creative and creatively undermining. Born in a challenge to authority, American authority continually inhibits its own exercise (what the Supreme Court did last week in challenging the executive and legislative branches over Guantanamo). Recognitions of personal alienation inevitably open into demands for the reform of alienating systems -- and in America that is the work of politics. It never stops.

As the kids say, read the whole thing.


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From the Rejected Poetry Desk, Middle English edition
Courtesy of Jane, we find this little ditty that apparently didn't make the cut in The Canterbury Tales:

Did marche togedir in fraternitee
Al thogh thei were of varyinge lyveree.
Thei knewe sum auncient magicke remedye
For “Y M C A” dide they ful loude crye,
And lifte ther armes lyk vnto menne gone woode.
And eek yt semede their mappe was nat too goode:
Thogh Canterburye-warde we headede Est
In unison thei seyde to us ‘Go Weste.’

There simply isn't enough parody poetry out there.


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Sunday, July 02, 2006
Culture Club
The Globe today encourages the General Court to override Red Speck's veto of $13,000,000 for cultural facilities.

Good for them.

We've seen firsthand here in North Adams what an influx of culture-related money can do. (Now we need to go to the next step, an economy where the arts are but one part.) Red Speck's veto shows once again he does not care one whit about the municipalities of Massachusetts.